2016 Nissan Maxima Four Door Sports Car, Nashville and Country Music Legends; Can’t get any better

Nissan's 2016 Maxima just keeps getting better at offering spirited driving in a four-door sedan as it matures. Copyright © Ron Moorhead

Nissan’s 2016 Maxima just keeps getting better at offering spirited driving in a four-door sedan as it matures. Copyright © Ron Moorhead

Nissan introduced its eighth generation Maxima in its American home town of Nashville accompanied by the music of Vince Gil, “Ranger Doug” Green and the Time Jumpers. If you enjoy country swing, check out The Time Jumpers. As it turned out it was a

"Ranger Doug" Green along with Vince Gil and the Time Jumpers played pure Nashville. Copyright © Ron Moorhead

“Ranger Doug” Green along with Vince Gil and the Time Jumpers played pure Nashville. Copyright © Ron Moorhead

perfect place to enjoy all of this. Nashville is surrounded by wonderful undulating two-lane country roads the allowed the Maxima to show off its agility and spunk. After all Nissan proclaims loudly, the Maxima is the four-door sports car.

It is a bit difficult for me to believe it has been over 25 years since I first drove what was then the 810. A short half of year later Nissan labeled this mid-sized sedan the Maxima and the name has endured as has the vehicle. I don’t want to get overly schmaltzy here, but this is a vehicle that offers a maximum (pun intended) of features and continues today offering those features at a reasonable price. Certainly pricing has changed a bit since that first entry in 1981, after all a loaf of bread was $0.54 and a gallon of gas was $1.08.

2016 Nissan Maxima's sleek design draws the eye rearward to the jewel-like tail lamps and accommodating trunk lid. Copyright © Ron Moorhead

2016 Nissan Maxima’s sleek design draws the eye rearward to the jewel-like tail lamps and accommodating trunk lid. Copyright © Ron Moorhead

The new Maxima offers features far beyond the sporty drive we have come to expect from this Nissan. A high level of luxury is evident even in the base Maxima. From entry level to top of the line buyers get standard features such as navigation with eight-inch display, RearView monitor camera, remote engine start and all the refinement of a finely engineered luxury sedan. All of this with a starting price of $32,410. And while the progression of more extensively equipped models climbs from that starting point you can pack an awful lot of features into the 2016 Maxima and keep your tag under forty-grand. This is a category where some competitors are tens of thousands higher.

Maxima’s look and feel has changed substantially as each generation has progressed moving the sedan toward a more luxurious yet capable ride. The exterior styling is bold with a front end that is dominated by the V-Motion grille, which one auto media wag described it as “Texas steer horns.” Perhaps the design team wanted to say; Hang on to your hats folks, here’s the new Maxima.

No matter how you look at the Maxima it makes a statement by combining Design, performance, craftsmanship and technology into a four-door sedan that is not just good looking and comfortable but a kick to drive.

The 300 horsepower V-6 engine transfers power to the road via Nissan’s new Xtronic CVT transmission. Copyright © Ron Moorhead

The 300 horsepower V-6 engine transfers power to the road via Nissan’s new Xtronic CVT transmission. Copyright © Ron Moorhead

Under the hood and waiting for driver to summon up the full force of its 300 horsepower is a smooth V-6 gasoline engine that Nissan engineers have tweaked here and there. Incorporating horsepower producing elements Nissan learned from their dragon slayer supercar the GT-R, 61% of its parts are new. This engine not only brings excellent response but increased fuel economy as part of the formula. It is a modern day challenge for car companies these days. Buyers want better and better performance while demanding higher fuel economy numbers.
Nissan is helping to make me change my mind on Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVTs). With good reason I have been critical of these rubber band gear boxes because of their lackluster performance in acceleration and getting power to the road. Plus the sound emitted from the engine can be equated more to a ski boat than a sports sedan.

But as I say Nissan is challenging me to come over to their side with their new Xtronic CVT. We are getting there but I am still holding out for the next generation. CVT development came about mainly because of the demand for increased fuel economy, and they help in this case quite well. The Xtronic equipped here in the Maxima is one of the better at applying power to the road and for delivering a sporty driving feel.

It is no surprise that both exterior and interior invoke a strong sporty feel, However, sliding behind the wheel ready for a exciting drive you will find the 2016 Nissan Maxima interior offers up a large dose of luxury and infotainment.

The center stack holding a large 8-iinch display touch screen, sound system and climate controls is canted slightly toward the driver

 Nissan adds a Display Commander control knob that is styled after a fine time piece. Copyright © Ron Moorhead

Nissan adds a Display Commander control knob that is styled after a fine time piece. Copyright © Ron Moorhead

allowing easy access by both front passenger and driver. This control center operates much like a smart phone with a series of swipes you can access the stand navigation system as well other available features such as NissanConnect with Google search. Nissan adds a Display Commander control knob that is styled after a fine time piece. It feels precise in your fingers as you move through the commands.

The front bucket seats for driver and passenger incorporate just the right level of support and comfort. The cushion and back rest are comfortable even after a long excursion, yet the side bolsters are just firm enough to keep you planted in the seat during spirited drives along your favorite country road.

A rearview camera is standard. Other safety features available working up through the five trim levels are Forward Collision Warning, Driver Attention Alert, Forward Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and 360-view camera.

It is comforting to know that through the years and the many generations the Nissan Maxima is able to remain one vehicle which I feel comfortable and confident in recommending to friends and family. The 2016 Nissan Maxima offers up just the right mix of luxury, performance and value in a mid to full-sized four-door sedan.